The Truth of the Matter

Friday, 12 February, 2016 - 12:23 pm

The Truth of the Matter

“In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth”.[1]

G-d created a magnificently beautiful world but this world is far from perfect. The Zohar, one of the earliest Kabbalistic works, writes: “this world is a world of lies”. That is because, often, the physical world hides its inner core and essence, often, the physical reality conceals the spiritual soul that is at its core. 

The spiritual worlds, by contrast, are called “worlds of truth”. There, the true nature of creation can be seen. There, the world does not conceal its spiritual energy.  There each creation is aware of its source, and is drawn to reconnect to its source of life. 

Indeed, the last letters of the Hebrew words “in the beginning G-d created” are the letters “tof” (ת), “alef” (א), and “mem” (מ), which spell the Hebrew word for “truth” (אמת). This alludes to the nature of creation. Creation is a place where the truth is concealed, but is waiting to be discovered. If you dig deep enough into the nature of creation, you will discover the truth of the universe.[2]

G-d did his part in creation, and then began looking for a partner to finish the job. He began to search for a people who would make it their business to discover the truth of the world. A people who would help reveal the soul of the world, who would discover that the body is just a conduit for the soul, that the physical is a chariot for the spiritual.

The story of G-d’s search for a nation to partner with spans the first book and a half of the five books of Moses, from creation until the exodus and the giving of the Torah. Finally, we reach the climax of the story. Finally the people would uncover the truth of this world. Finally the people would expose the big lie: the material world is an independent, selfish identity interested only in self preservation. Finally a people would use the material as a vehicle to fulfill G-d’s will, thus aligning it with its soul and spiritual spark.

Thus, the second half of the book of Exodus, the detailed description of the construction of the Mishkan, the portable temple built in the desert, which to some people seems irrelevant to their lives, is in truth the climax of the story of creation. G-d created a physical world that conceals its spiritual core, and we excavate the physical and extract its treasures. We take the material and use it as a home for G-d, as a tool that perpetuates goodness, kindness, and the Divine will on this earth.

The commandment to build the Mishkan, the portable temple, is a commandment which transforms the lie into truth. The structure of the Mishkan was made of beams of wood. The Hebrew word for “beam” (קרש) contains the same letters as the Hebrew word for “lie” (שקר). G-d is telling us that when we use a physical possession for a MItzvah, we are transforming it from a lie, from something that conceals its inner truth, to a “beam” that creates a home and a dwelling place for the truth of G-d to dwell on this earth.  

Thus, the portions that describe the commandment to construct a temple for G-d, “And you shall make the beams for the Mishkan of acacia wood, upright”[3], are not only about a structure built in a desert over three thousand years ago. We are reading about our story. We are reading about our purpose on this earth, about our obligation to partner with G-d in creation. We are reading about our mission to transform lie to truth, and darkness to light.

We are reading about our part in the story of creation.[4]



[1] Genesis 1:1.

[2] See Bas Ayin, Parshas Terumah.

[3] Exodus 26:15.

[4] Based on the teachings of the Rebbe, Basi Ligani 5711.  

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